2011 schedule set, but start may change

2011 schedule set, but start may change

SAN FRANCISCO -- Don't memorize the Giants' 2011 schedule just yet.

The 162-game regular-season slate released Tuesday night has San Francisco beginning the season on the road against their traditional rivals, the Los Angeles Dodgers, on Friday, April 1 -- a date designed to end the season earlier and hasten the progress of the postseason.

That very likely could end up being the Giants' "mainland" season opener.

Along with Major League Baseball, the Players Association and the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Giants are trying to engineer a two-game series at Taiwan in late March that would officially open the season for both teams. Those would be designated as home games for the D-backs, because they typically draw smaller crowds than the Giants and thus would have to be compensated less by MLB.

The schedule, as it currently stands, does not include the Taiwan games, but only minor adjustments would have to be made on the calendars of the Giants and D-backs if they agree to make the goodwill trip.

No matter what happens, the Giants will christen their home schedule April 8 against St. Louis.

That will be followed by the Dodgers' first visit to San Francisco, a three-game series April 11-13. Los Angeles also comes to AT&T Park on July 18-20 and Sept. 9-11.

The annual home-and-home series against the cross-bay Interleague rival A's are set for May 20-22 (San Francisco) and June 17-19 (Oakland).

Other Interleague opponents visiting San Francisco are Minnesota (June 21-23) and Cleveland (June 24-26). The Giants will visit the Tigers on July 1-3.

San Francisco's longest homestand of the year, 12 games, runs Aug. 23-Sept. 4 and encompasses series against San Diego, Houston, Chicago and Arizona.

As usual, the schedule includes some rough spots. It's virtually bookended by three-city trips to Pittsburgh, Washington and New York (April 26-May 5) and Colorado, Los Angeles and Arizona (Sept. 15-25) -- though the Taiwan journey could shave a game from that Arizona series.

San Francisco's schedule is garnished by two home dates on holidays: Easter Sunday, April 24, against Atlanta, and July 4 against San Diego.

The Giants' regular season concludes with a three-game home series Sept. 26-28 against Colorado.

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.